Lombard made the front page of the Los Angeles Examiner on April 23, 1938, but it wasn't the result of clever publicity from Russell Birdwell or some other master of studio PR. No, this was crime news...her home had been robbed.
Two images of the home on 609 St. Cloud Road; the top from a contemporary postcard, the bottom the house in more recent times (pop star Belinda Carlisle and her husband resided here for several years). Carole moved there in 1936, believing it would give her more privacy than her fabled residence on Hollywood Boulevard (privacy she now sought given her budding romance with Clark Gable).
Lombard apparently wasn't in the house at the time of the robbery; according to the Hearst newspaper, $25,000 worth of items were stolen -- including a jewel-encrusted watch given her by Gable. With film stars' houses on maps sold to tourists, chances are the perpetrators knew who they were targeting.
But if it was any solace to Carole, she wasn't the only troubled actress on the front of the Examiner. In fact, the other film star's problems with crime warranted a banner headline:
"SIMONE SIMON BARES $50,000 SWINDLE PLOT." Simon was a French actress brought to America in the mid-1930s, signing with 20th Century-Fox. She appeared in a number of films, including a 1937 remake of "Seventh Heaven" with James Stewart, but never really clicked with American audiences, although she did have some success in the 1940s with movies such as "Cat People." She also reportedly had an affair with George Gershwin prior to his death in 1937. Simon died in Paris at age 94 in February 2005.
As far as details of the swindle plot, I really couldn't find anything online. This newspaper, in full, could explain that, the Lombard robbery and so much more. Get a feel for life in Los Angeles in April 1938. Also see if you can find Marion Davies' name somewhere in the paper (legend has it that while William Randolph Hearst was alive, her name had to be placed somewhere in every Hearst paper, every day).
This copy of the Examiner has 30 pages and is said to be in good condition. One bid, for $4.99, has already been made, and bidding closes at 10 a.m. (Eastern) on Tuesday. Interested in adding this to your vintage newspaper collection? Bid, or learn more, by going to http://cgi.ebay.com/0510101W-CAROLE-LOMBARD-HOME-LOOTED-APRIL-23-1938-/390248688558?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5adca26bae.
Soon after this incident was reported, Lombard's latest film, "Fools For Scandal," was released. Since it drew lackluster response from critics and was a box-office disappointment for Warners, chances are more than a few fans of Carole felt as if they had been robbed.